The LA Galaxy dominated the Vancouver Whitecaps 5-2 on Saturday, August 13th. It was a thourough performance for LA from start to finish. This brings up the question, was this the best performance for LA this season?
My opinion is that yes it was. It wasn't a perfectly complete performance, but I think that overall it was the best performance from LA this season. Now, here's why.
In my opinion, there are two other potential choices for LA's other best performance of the season. A 4-1 win over Austin back on May 29th and a 4-0 win over Montreal on July 4th.
Both of those two performances were very strong ones and are the ones that I will be judging this performance for the Galaxy against.
The Galaxy were in control of this match from early on. LA went ahead early in the 12th minute off the foot of Samuel Grandsir (after a great ball to Kevin Cabral led up to the goal). Chicharito then doubled the lead in the 20th minute with a Penalty Kick goal after a Vancouver handball in the box.
Victor Vazquez then added to the lead as his shot from outside the box beat the keeper and made it 3-0 LA in the 30th minute. The opening 30 minutes set the tempo for the match and really kind of put the match away in the opening half-hour.
Vancouver got a goal back in the 38th minute, but LA responded right back just moments later as Grandsir added his 2nd goal of the contest with a fantastic finish from distance to put the lead right back to three. That response by Grandsir was huge because it put the game right back away and didn't give Vancouver any hope of a comeback.
The Whitecaps would get another goal back in the 70th minute to make it 4-2, although it really felt like too little, too late. LA would then add on the dagger though in the 89th minute as Efrain Alvarez put home an assist from Dejan Joveljic to push the lead to the ultimately final 5-2 in the final moments.
This was LA's highest scoring output of the season. They had previously scored four goals in the two previously mentioned performances, but they had yet to register five goals in a match this year, before Saturday.
So obviously, from a goal output perspective, this was the Galaxy's best performance of the season.
Now to other statistics. On Saturday, LA held a large edge in possession as the Galaxy held 62.4% of it. LA also completed 86.4% of their passes (compared to 81.2% for Vancouver). The strong passing in the match led to the nearly 2/3rd's advantage in possession for LA.
Looking back at the two previous matches mentioned, LA actually got out-possessed and out-passed in both of them. In the 4-0 win over Austin, LA held just 44.1% of possession and got out-passed 82.7%-81.2%. Then in the match against Montreal, LA was once again out-possessed and out-passes (this time much more significantly). The Galaxy held just 38.3% of possession and completed just 77.9% of their passes compared to 85.9% from Montreal.
While possession and passing % aren't the end-all-be-all, they do show just how much control of the match that LA had. The previous two matches, the possession and passing did not matter to the outcome, but in this match they told the story of the control in the match.
Now to another telling statistic, Expected Goals. Against Austin, LA dominated the xG's at 3.7-0.9. Against Montreal, LA was once again in firm control at 3.3-0.9. Now we look at Saturday, where the xG's weren't as drastic. The Galaxy held the edge by a good bit, but it was a 2.9-1.0 advantage.
Again, xG isn't a perfect measure of control in a match, but it does give an idea of how the match went. This wasn't the best performance of the season in terms of xG's, but it was a strong one nevertheless.
From a shots perspective, LA was very clinical in this match. They scored five goals on seven shots on target.
Another aspect of this being a strong showing was that LA's star players showed up. Grandsir scored the brace, but he also completed 80.7% of his passes. Chicharito was great in the match as well with a goal, an assist, and he completed 88.2% of his passes. It hasn't always been smooth sailing for LA's star players (as a whole. not just these two, but others as well), but for the most part they all showed up in this match.
In my opinion, this was the Galaxy's best offensive match of the season. Not just because they scored a season-high five goals, but also when you factor in how well they kept possession and how efficient they were passing the ball.
The one drawback from this being LA's most best is that they did concede two goals. However, LA was never really threatened in the match in terms of giving up control or a result. The Galaxy were already up 3-0 before conceding for the first time and then responded right back. It never really felt like LA was in danger of not getting three points in the match.
The win currently has the Galaxy 6th in the Western Conference, although they are tied with three other squads for that spot. LA owns the tiebreaker over all the others which puts them in that 6th spot, but that also means that they are right on the verge of falling below the playoff line. The Galaxy have ten matches remaining this season (they actually have two matches in hand on all the other teams they are tied with, which bodes very well for them obviously). They will look to build off of their momentum built in this match as they battle the Seattle Sounders on Friday night.